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Yesterday, I took delivery of some new Nike Pegasus shoes I had purchased online and christened one pair with a 6km walk around Copa this morning, including some steep hills and steps.

I wore the new shoes in the hope that their cushioning and arch support would be better than my current Pegasus shoes.  I could feel the arch support pressing on the painful area of my right foot, suggesting that it was, perhaps, offering more support than my older shoes.  Consciously walking on the outside of the foot almost eliminated the pain and I remain hopeful that I might be able to jog lightly, pain-free, on Sunday.

When runners consult me about injuries, I often suggest they try wearing different shoes to see if that makes a difference.  Even if they are the same brand, slight manufacturing variations and differing levels of wear can make a difference.  I have been wedded to Nike Pegasus and its forerunners for many years and am now reluctant to change brands for fear of creating new injuries.  However, I don't think there's anything special about them - it's more the devil you know versus the devil you don't.

Taking a break while hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1986
Like many runners who started in the 1960s and 1970s, some of my earliest shoes were cheap Korean and Japanese imports bought primarily because they were light and cheap.  Later I graduated to some of the early Tiger models which met the same criteria.  I think that, when you are young, your body is more adaptable and forgiving, so you can get away with less support and cushioning in your shoes.  Someone once told me that there are fat pads in our feet which provide cushioning and that these break down as you get older.  This is consistent with my own experience.  For instance, back in 1986, at the age of 35, I hiked the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail up the east coast of the U.S., mostly in a pair of New Balance running shoes.  Despite carrying a pack that averaged 20 kilograms, I had few foot-related problems.  When I resumed my long-distance hiking career a few years ago, wearing running shoes, I experienced severe pain in the soles of my feet after a few days.  After switching to good quality hiking boots, offering support and cushioning, I have had no foot problems.

Although I favour Nike, I think that there are many excellent running shoes out there these days.  In my earlier career, apart from Tiger, I also wore Brooks, New Balance and Adidas for extended periods and found them all good.  Every individual is different, and every individual needs to experiment with different shoes until they find the brand and model that suits them best.  Sometimes, if injuries persist, orthotics might be needed.

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